After being accused of taking $5 from another student in an after-school swipe, a 7-year-old Bronx boy was pulled out of his classroom and questioned for more than 10 hours.
According to a $250 million claim that has been filed against the city and the NYPD, police handcuffed and held Wilson Reyes in a room at his school for four hours before taking him to the 44th Precinct station house for another six hours of interrogation and verbal abuse.
Reyes’ mother Frances Mendez said: “My son was crying, ‘Mommy, it wasn’t me! Mommy, it wasn’t me!’ I never imagined the cops could do that to a child. We’re traumatized. Imagine how I felt seeing my son in handcuffs! It was horrible. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
The police were supposedly acting because of a report that the $5 in question had fallen on the ground in front of Reyes and two other boys, and one of them pocketed the cash.
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Reyes was accused of scooping it, and he and another one of the kids got into a physical altercation. The filed claim states that one of the other boys, not Reyes, admitted to taking the money.
The city’s Law Department wound up dropping the robbery charge against Wilson on Dec. 26. A department spokesman declined to comment yesterday.
The legal papers say another classmate later admitted the theft.
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The lawyer for Reyes’ family, Jack Yankowitz, was extremely critical of the actions of police. “It’s unfathomable, what the police did. The whole thing sounds so stupid. They were interrogating him like he was a hardened criminal,” he said. “If you have a child, a nephew, can you even imagine this happening to them?”
The law department for the city dropped the robbery charge against Reyes just after Christmas.
Source: (New York Post)